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Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what (a) financial and (b) non-financial contribution his Department has made to the EU Erasmus Mundus programme since 2001; and which third countries were partners in the programme in the latest period for which information is available. 
The Department makes no direct financial contributions to the Erasmus Mundus programme, which is funded by the European Commission. Along with representatives of the other EU member states, my officials are involved in the development of the programme
through membership of the Erasmus Mundus Committee. The latest statistical information available from the European Commission shows that in 2007, 13 third countries were involved in partnerships with EU institutionsAustralia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Japan, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, Ukraine and USA. In addition, scholarships were awarded to incoming students from 102 different third countries.
Bill Rammell: Europass was incorporated into the European Union's Lifelong Learning Programme with effect from 1 January 2007. There are currently no plans to extend the Europass beyond its current scope.
Bill Rammell: We do not hold data centrally on the total level on endowment funds held by universities but the income from such endowments amounted to nearly £300 million for 2005/06the latest year for which data is available. Over the past decade, significant improvements have been made as more institutions have set up and expanded their professional fundraising capacity. This has been supported by the Governments commitment to increase the level of voluntary giving to universities with the introduction of a £7.5 million capacity building scheme and the £200 million matched funding scheme over three years that was announced last year.
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of withdrawal of support to institutions in south-east London for students studying equivalent or lower qualifications. 
Bill Rammell: No students currently studying equivalent or lower qualifications will be affected by these changes. In future, our policy of redistributing grant will widen participation and mean that more of the three million Londoners of working age who do not have a first higher-level qualification, especially those from non-traditional backgrounds, will be able to benefit from participating in higher education.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what proportion of people normally resident in Peterborough have participated in higher education to degree level in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: The main measure for tracking progress on increasing participation in higher education is currently the Higher Education Initial Participation Rate (HEIPR). This is the sum of the HE initial participation rates for individual ages between 17 and 30 inclusive. It covers English-domiciled first time entrants to HE courses, which are expected to last for at least six months, at UK higher education institutions and English, Scottish and Welsh further education colleges, and who remain on their course for at least six months. The figures are shown in the table.
|Higher education initial participation rate (HEIPR) 1999-2000 to 2005-06|
| Source: "Participation Rates in Higher Education: Academic Years 1999-2000 to 2005-06 (Provisional)" Statistical First Release, published by DfES.|
HEFCE's Young participation in Higher Education publication includes the proportion of young people who enter higher education at age 18 or 19 by parliamentary constituency, although this only covers the years up to 2000. Participation rates based on this work are given on the supporting POLAR website (www.hefce.ac.uk/polar).
|Proportion of people from Peterborough entering HE aged 18 or 19, based on the cohort aged 18 in each given year|
|Cohort reaching age 18 in year||1997||1998||1999||2000|
| Source: Young Participation in Higher Education", published by HEFCE.|
In 2004 the Government established the National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NCSRs) for research into alternatives to the use of animals in research; this is the first centre of its type in the world. Since its launch, baseline Government funding for the NCSRs has increased from £696,000 in 2004-05 to £2.218 million in this financial year. In addition to this, because of the number of additional high quality applications received, the NCSRs secured additional funding of £400,000 from the MRC-Medical Research
Counciland BBSRC-the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect that withdrawal of funding for equivalent or lower qualifications will have on opportunities for lifelong learning. 
Bill Rammell: The progressive re-distribution of institutional funding away from students doing equivalent or lower level qualifications will enable us to widen higher education participation and support more of the millions of people of all ages without a first higher education qualification, including the five million people over fifty without such qualifications. However, there will be transitional protection for existing students doing equivalent and lower level qualifications until they complete their courses. All of the £100 million will be redistributed to support our priorities, including the challenges posed by Sandy Leitch around the proportion of the workforce with higher level skills from under 30 per cent. to over 40 per cent. by 2020.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings (a) she, (b) Ministers in her Department and (c) officials have held with (i) directors and (ii) senior executives of (A) Capita Group plc and (B) its subsidiaries since 1 January 2001; what the (1) location and (2) duration of each meeting was; whether a record of each meeting was kept; and if she will make a statement. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many households in England have zero liability for council tax due to 100 per cent. council tax exemptions; 
John Healey: Table 1 of the statistics release Local Authority Taxbase2007 England gives details of dwellings in England as at 8 October 2007 that were exempt from council tax. This release is available on the Communities and Local Governments website at:
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what was (a) the rate of household council tax and (b) the percentage change from the previous year this represented for each of the last 10 years for (i) Bedfordshire county council, (ii) South Bedfordshire district council and (iii) Luton borough council. 
John Healey: Details of the council tax and the percentage change from the previous year this represented for each of the last 10 years for (i) Bedfordshire county council, (ii) South Bedfordshire district council and (iii) Luton borough council are available on the Communities and Local Government website at:
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what items of her Departments (a) revenue and (b) expenditure are uprated using (i) the consumer prices index, (ii) the retail prices index and (iii) other measures of inflation. 
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) objectives and (b) value was of each contract placed with (i) Deloitte and Touche, (ii) Ernst and Young, (iii) KPMG, (iv) PricewaterhouseCoopers and (v) PA Consulting by her Department its predecessor Department and its agencies in each year since 2004-05. 
|2004-05||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08 to date||Total|
The nature of each contract involved could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 12 December 2007, Official Report, column 554W, and to the answer given to the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) on 14 June 2007, Official Report, column 1170W, which give details of certain departmental contracts.
|2004-05||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||Total||Nature of contract(s)|
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